Indissolubly Linked II

Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

Luke 2:11 “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”

No, you were not directed to the wrong link, nor were you sent the wrong message. No, I haven’t lost track of time and forgotten that we have just started summertime and are far from the winter season. No, I have not lost my mind and mixed up holidays. And yes, I am intentionally publishing a Christmas message in early July during the Independence Day weekend. I do so on good authority.

President John Quincy Adams said the following in 1837:

“Is it not that, in the chain of events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the Gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity and gave the world the first irrevocable pledge of the fulfillment of the prophecies announced directly from Heaven at the birth of the Savior and predicted by the greatest of the Hebrew prophets 600 years before.”

Our nation is fundamentally tied to Christianity, and our nation’s birth is indissolubly linked to the birthday of our Saviour. Our cornerstone of human government, the Declaration of Independence, is laid upon the first precepts of Christianity. Our founding document is a social compact that is an intentional extension of the Redeemer’s mission. Thus, Independence Day is a time to rightfully celebrate Christmas Day. The fireworks of the 4th of the July illuminate the powerful truth that Christ’s birth is inscribed on our national character.

DURING THIS WEEKEND THAT CELEBRATES OUR NATION’S BIRTH, PLEASE REFLECT ON ITS LINK TO OUR SAVIOUR’S BIRTH, AND PRAY FOR OUR NATION AND OUR LEADERS. We must always remember that the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior, and use this truth to motivate us to individually and collectively pursue the Redeemer’s mission.

From Wellman, Iowa

On The Horizon

Hebrews 12:1-3 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”

Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”

Several years ago, I decided that I needed to learn how to scuba dive. I signed up for a class that included a natural learning progression of classroom academics, a swimming pool dive, a small lake dive, and a concluding open-water dive. All was going well, until the final checkout off the coast of North Carolina.

Before that trip, our instructor recommended that we take some medication to avoid motion sicknesses. After all, the dive site was an hour away from the shore and the weather conditions were expected to provide a bumpy boat ride out to the point where we entered the water. I was an active fighter pilot, with no problems with motion sickness during a career of bumps, twists, turns, rolls, and loops. Thus, I scoffed at his recommendation.

Indeed, it was bumpy on the way out to the dive site, but nothing my iron stomach couldn’t handle. All I needed to do was maintain a gaze on the stable horizon and I stayed oriented and well. But, at some point as we approached our destination, we were directed to don our full scuba gear. At the moment I looked down to pull up my suit, I started mentally tumbling. I recovered by shifting my gaze back to the horizon, but the damage to my stomach had been done.

Please note, I never got actively sick. But, I was miserable the rest of the day. And, while I completed the dive and received my full qualification, I have never had the stomach to return to the water to try it again.

God provides us trusted stability in our lives, in spite of the bumpy ride that we all face. During the race we are called to run, we are to do so with patience and with a gaze firmly fixed on the author and finisher of our faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today and for ever. On our behalf, He endured the cross and despised the shame. And, regardless of whether we seem to have an iron stomach and a stable orientation, a slight glance away from the Horizon may cause us to tumble and never truly recover from the damage that is done.

PLEASE PRAY FOR AMERICAN CHRISTIANS TO NEVER TAKE OUR GAZE OFF OF CHRIST. In a world of bumps, twists, turns, rolls and loops, we are rely on the sure and steady Horizon that is Christ Himself.

Please see the following for another example of the importance of a fixed gaze on Christ:

Rich Fruits

I Peter 2:1-3 “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby; If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”

Hebrews 12:14-15 “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled”

Hebrews 12:1-2 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Galatians 5:22-24 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against which there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”

There is so much to be concerned with in our lives and in the world around us. There are plenty of reasons to be anxious, concerned, shocked, angered, and embittered. We have been wronged, we have been maligned, and we have been marginalized. We have been underappreciated and we have been unsupported.

We could respond with malice, guile, hypocrisies, envies, and evil speakings. We could be troubled by bitterness and defiled by an attitude of revenge. Our energy could be sapped and our effectiveness could be subdued. But, God has a far better plan! It is the path that Christ followed as He endured the cross and despised the shame.

The Lord directs us to keep our gaze focused on Him, regardless of the plentiful distractions that would otherwise divert it. He wanted us to grow through the milk of His Word. He calls us towards holiness and peace with all men. He recommends that we lay aside all the weights that are hindering our forward progress.

And, He seeks for us to enjoy the rich fruits of the Spirit that taste and nourish far better than the bitter morsels offered by secular society.

PLEASE PRAY THAT AS AMERICAN CHRISTIANS WE WOULD FOLLOW A CHRISTLIKE RESPONSE TO THE CHALLENGES THAT WE FACE IN OUR DAILY LIVES. The rich fruits of the Christian life come from a counter-cultural, Christ-like response to adversity.

Everybody’s Book

II Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

Psalm 119:105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

Job 23:12 “Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.”

In days during early World War II when victory was far from assured and the foundational elements of human society were shaken due to world-wide conflict, Pastor Hugh Elmer Brown wrote the following as recorded in “Strength for Service”:

“For cleansing, for comfort, and for command, the Bible has no equal. It is the moral radium of the world. It is Everybody’s Book. Put your ear to it and you hear universal man as he sobs, and sings, as he sighs, swears, and supplicates. Coffins and cradles, glories and glooms, comedies and tragedies, all the ups and downs of human experience are in the Bible.

The Bible is the most hopeful book in the world. It is full of the spirit of the morning. It has splendid ‘eyes for the dawn.’ No literature matches it for pure sunniness. It snatches the crepe from the door of death. It looks for the latent good in bad men. It has a Gospel for the Gutter. It peoples Eternity with singing men and women.

The Bible is the most helpful book in the world. It teaches how to think about life – feeds the heart with vision and ideal, and reveals the superb pattern of manhood in Jesus. It is a lantern for our feet in any situation in life. It gives valor to our dreams of good and maps the road to civilization of brotherly men. Its religious truths are essential to man’s health in character, man’s hope in service, and man’s triumph in death. It is a telescope through which we can see the living God.”

Pastor Brown provides us a superb reminder of the preeminent importance of the Word of God. It is to be treasured; it is to be trusted. It is truly profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. It is a light unto our feet and a lamp unto our path.

Job reminds us all of its power. He faithfully followed it, because he rightfully elevated it. In the midst his own extreme challenges when victory was far from assured and the foundational elements of his life were shaken by conflict, he declared that those words were more esteemed than his necessary food.

PLEASE PRAY THAT AMERICAN CHRISTIANS WOULD PROPERLY ELEVATE AND ESTEEM GOD’S WORD. As Everybody’s Book, it has no equal!

ADMIN: There will not be a PLUS post next weekend, but please continue to faithfully and fervently pray for revival in our land.

Unfinished Work

Joshua 4:21-24 “And he spake unto the children of Israel saying, when your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones? Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. For the LORD your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over: That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever.”

Hebrews 11:32-34 “And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.”

In my previous post, I shared the importance of Christians looking forward and upward instead of down and backwards. There is a notable exception, however.

God would have us to look backwards when doing so would successfully and faithfully drive us forward. Letting our gaze drift backwards to recognize God’s persistent faithfulness will help us successfully tackle the challenges we will face serving Him in the future. The enduring memorial of stones taken from the midst of the Jordan River played this role for the Israelites. It was done so that “all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever.” Relatedly, allowing our vision to linger on the past faithfulness of our forefathers will help provide the inspiration we need to carry on their powerful legacy into an uncertain future. Sections of the Bible like Hebrews 11 provide such a powerful memorial of faithfulness for us today.

Memorial Day was established as a widespread commemoration in the United States of America on May 30, 1868. Yet, four and a half years earlier President Abraham Lincoln gave some of the most powerful words of memorial ever spoken at what is now known as the Gettysburg Address. It included the following:

“We can not dedicate – we can not consecrate – we can not hollow – this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

PLEASE PRAY THAT AMERICAN CHRISTIANS WOULD LOOK TO OUR PAST TO REMEMBER THE POWER OF GOD AND THE FAITHFULNESS OF OUR FOREFATHERS. May we today be dedicated to further the unfinished work in our land!

Please see the following for related posts:

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